A Year in Review

A Year in Review

As 2023 comes to a close, we are reflecting on the year of accomplishment at Historic Boston. To recap, here are the most exciting developments for HBI in 2023:

Comfort Kitchen opened in the newly restored  Upham’s Corner Comfort Station in January and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting attended by Mayor Michelle Wu in June.

Since then, Boston Magazine’s Best in Boston declared Comfort Kitchen the Best New Restaurant of 2023, and the New York Times named it one of  America’s Best Restaurants of 2023. In October, Preservation Massachusetts presented the Comfort Station with the Paul and Niki Tsongas Award. That same month, Boston Preservation Alliance named the Comfort Station as one of their 2023 Preservation Award recipients. 


In May, Boston Design Week presented HBI with the 2023 Social Impact in Design Award at Boston Architectural College, in honor of the organization’s 63 years of saving historic buildings in Boston.

The 1718 Old Corner Bookstore took center stage in 2023 as HBI began a new focus on re-envisioning and updating the building it was formed to save in 1960. MASSDesign Group was hired as architect for the project and HBI engaged the local branding firm Other Tomorrows to help HBI bring the Old Corner Bookstore complex into the 21st century. The team is prioritizing carbon reduction, new systems, and accessibility while also re-visiting the building’s historic preservation and interpretation to the public. Read more about these exciting developments here. 

In July, HBI finalized the sale of the 1912 St. James African Orthodox Church to the nonprofit,  Roxbury Action Program, whose headquarters will be based at St. James. In addition to RAP, the church will also serve as a gathering space for a number of community-serving organizations. 

The St. James African Orthodox Church in Roxbury.

This autumn, HBI also launched a feasibility study for the restoration and re-use of the Charlestown Pumping Station on Alford Street.  At the other end of Boston – in Dorchester’s Port Norfolk, HBI is also exploring opportunities for reuse at the 1855  A.T. Stearns Lumber Co. Counting House, which is the last surviving structure of the once influential company in Dorchester. 

Charlestown Pumping Station on Alford Street.

A.T. Stearns Counting House in Port Norfolk.


At the Shirley Eustis House in Roxbury, HBI assisted the museum’s leadership in their acquisition of a neighboring property, 42-44 Shirley Street, a building associated with the enslaved people who served colonial Governor William Shirley in the 18th century. Read more about efforts to unearth this important piece of Boston history here. 

In the fall HBI placed a preservation easement on the iconic Hayden Building. The subject of a 2014 rehabilitation project for housing and retail, the Hayden Building is the last extant commercial building by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in Boston. The preservation easement protects the building in perpetuity.


The Hayden Building in Chinatown.


At year-end, HBI is racing to finalize sale of the 1786 Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan to the nonprofit Urban Farming Institute (UFI) by December 31st. A $3.8 million preservation project completed in 2018 by HBI, UFI, the Trust for Public Land, and the North Bennet Street School, the property becomes an asset of UFI’s.  Read more about UFI’s success at the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm here.

The Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan.





Historic Boston cannot accomplish these feats of preservation alone. We’re grateful to all of our project partners and friends. Most of all, we’re grateful to you, our donors, because your generosity makes these achievements – and many more to come – possible.  

Thank you. Happy holidays and a very happy New Year to all.